Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Monday reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to continue to invest in agriculture and partner with relevant stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the problem of food insecurity, as the state marks the World Food Day.
The Governor said one of the key mandates of his government is to support food production for the masses, and ensure that extreme hunger and starvation are curtailed to the barest minimum.
“I am delighted to join you as we mark World Food Day ‘23 to create awareness on food security, food safety and zero hunger. This day is more than just about food; it is also about the people and communities that rely on it for their survival. It is also about the shared responsibility we all have to ensure that everyone has access to nutritious and affordable food,” the Governor said in Ilorin at the 4th Kwara Food Summit – one of the flagship activities put together to commemorate the day.
The Summit was jointly organized by the state Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Kwara Agriculture Network, with the sub-theme: “Harnessing Agricultural Potential in Kwara state; Roles of Agricultural Financing and Technical Advisory services’ ‘.
The programme featured paper presentations and panelists, drawn from various institutions of government and private businesses.
AbdulRazaq expressed concern that despite the importance of food to mankind there are millions of people around the World facing chronic hunger. He said all hands must be on deck to address the hunger crisis.
“At our level in Kwara State, we have made some significant strides in recent years, but there is still much work to be done. We shall continue to invest in agricultural development; we will also continue to partner with other governments and organizations to find lasting solutions to the problem of food insecurity”.
Represented by the Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi, the Governor said the sub-theme aligns with the administration’s effort on the need to foster collaborations to improve access to finance as well as extension and technical advisory services especially for small and medium scale enterprises across the agricultural value chains as contained in its 10 years Agricultural Transformation Plan.
He said the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, has been rolling out a series of initiatives and programmes to ensure that the local farmers get the needed support to improve their productivity.
“Finally, let us celebrate the progress we have made in the fight against food insecurity and rededicate ourselves to the goal of a world free of hunger,” he added. The Governor commended the partnership of Kwara Agriculture Network (KAN) under the headship of Al-Mustapha Ibrahim.
The event was attended by Kwara House of Assembly member and Chairman House Committee on Agriculture Hon. Saba Yisa Gideon; state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Oloruntoyosi Thomas; Olupako of Share Oba Haruna Olawale Sulaiman; Olusin of Ijara-isin Oba Ajibola Ademola Julius; Elerin of Adanla Irese Dr. David Oyerinola Adedumoye; Executive Director for ARMTI Dr. Olufemi Oladuni; Senator Solihu Mustapha ably represented by Prince Ayodeji Ajisefini; Executive Chairman Kwara Agriculture Network (KAN) Al-Mustapha Ibrahim; representatives of Bank of Industry; Bank of Agriculture; Al-hikwah University; financial institutions and agro-allied companies and associations; among others.
Hon. Gideon, in his goodwill message, pledged that the House will continue to make available necessary legislations to support the state government in the efforts to consolidate on its success in that sector.
Hon. Thomas, in her remarks, said Governor AbdulRazaq has approved the creation of Kwara Agriculture Help Desk that will be located at the Ministry to further assist farmers, processors and investors in finding solutions to challenges bordering on finances and technical advisory support for them to start and scale up their agro-businesses.
“The desk office is also designed to guide our indigenous farmers on the right farm inputs, chemical and other technical services to enhance their productivity, which will ultimately lead to increase in food production and security,” the Commissioner said.
Executive Director, ARMTI, Dr. Olufemi Oladunni, in his paper presentation, said there was the need for all year round irrigation farming if food security is to be achieved.
He appreciated Governor AbdulRazaq for his strides and focus on developing the agric sector and called on all and sundry to join hands with governments to achieve sufficiency in food production in the state.
Executive Chairman, Kwara Agriculture Network (KAN) Al-Mustapha Ibrahim, said they are committed to working with necessary stakeholders to enhance agricultural productivity, support small-scale farmers, and invest in modern farming technologies.